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The view from the Pu - April/May
Thursday, 13th May 2021 15:14 by Steve Hardy

Steve Hardy's final monthly review of the 2020/21 season finishes on the positives of Lyndon Dykes, Charlie Austin, Stefan Johansen and more, as QPR round out the campaign in style.

Somehow, as if out of the blue, we have now reached the end of a season that the majority of us will remember forever due to the restrictions it has been played under. Although I’m sure if you offered the majority of people the opportunity for it to be scratched from their memory they would be taking you up on that option. Being rather lazy I have combined the last one and a bit month into one final monthly report for the season. So let’s take a look at the month of Apray (that works right?) that provided us with a massive six wins and three defeats.


They say over the course of a season your luck balances out. If you think back to earlier in the season and some of the rank bad luck we were experiencing - the red card that wasn’t given at Brentford, Seny Dieng saving a penalty only for it to rebound straight to the taker as glaring examples – it is refreshing to see us being on the receiving end of lucky moments. Specifically I’m referring to the second goal in the Sheffield Wednesday win. First of all we’re very lucky that for some reason The Owls picked Joe Wildsmith instead of actual goalkeeper Kieran Westwood, but whatever he was doing for that second goal was something else. I know the shot took a deflection but the guy has literally thrown it in the net, I genuinely couldn’t believe it (and neither could Barry Bannan) but it was good to see it finally happen to us as opposed to against us. Although only a few games later it looked like normal service had resumed with our own keeper the one throwing the ball in. It was good whilst it lasted I suppose.

A drum I have been banging all season, and am glad for once in my life to be proved right, is that Lyndon Dykes has been a good signing. Even during that lean spell you could see the work he was putting in for the team and to be rewarded with the end to the season he has is well deserved. To put it into context he scored 12 goals this season, Andre Ayew who allegedly cost Swansea £18m and Dominic Solanke who is rumoured to have cost £19m bagged 16 and 15 each and when you consider that you can’t say anything other than this signing has been a success. That goal against Rotherham was a thing of true beauty and a great example of the actual ability the guy has as opposed to him just being labelled as a work horse. I’ve said it in near enough every one of these this season but for him to move to a new city in the middle of global pandemic with the weight of being the club’s new number nine and big summer signing on his shoulders is a lot to bare and to see it all pay off in spades has been something that I have enjoyed greatly this month. The nay sayers and doom mongers will put it solely down to the arrival and impact of Charlie Austin and I’m sure his arrival has had an affect but there’s always been a player there for me and when you compare his returns to players like Ayew and Solanke, I certainly know who I would rather see in the hoops. I really do hope he has a good Euros, but importantly hope he comes back to us injury free come pre-season.

A big deal has been made about our form since the turn of the year and for us to add 15 (fifteen) wins to our total is nothing short of remarkable really. Clearly the return of Charlie and the addition of Johansen played a huge part in this but let us not forget the switch in formation from Warbs and also the incredible amount of focus that the players have shown in the last few months. Under normal circumstances a lot of those recent victories would have been boring draws and pitiful surrenders in front of tired and annoyed fans, so for the management to keep the players focussed and showing that commitment and desire deserves applauding. On top of that add how exciting some of the games actually were and it just made it more upsetting that we weren’t there. The Middlesbrough and Luton games for example were not only exciting but an actual enjoyable watch, imagine that train back from Middlesbrough and the last minute Adomah winner to round the season off.

There may be an element of hypocrisy here as I’m going to sing the praises of Austin and Johansen for one last time. I know earlier when writing about our Scotsralian striker I said people will lazily put his turn of form solely at the feet of Austin so there may be an element of hypocrisy here, but, other than when John Gregory’s January signings pretty much kept us up in 2007, I cannot remember such a good winter transfer window than the one we witnessed this season. The performances of these two in particular and their clear influence on the rest of the squad was nothing short of phenomenal. Like I say you cannot lay the turnaround solely at their feet as there was also the change in formation but, like everyone else, I have everything crossed that they will be back next season. The thought of the reception they will get from a packed Loftus Road is enough to keep me awake at night. Also a shout out to Yoann Barbet, every minute of every game across a season that was pretty much played in 10 weeks is a remarkable achievement.

One final question, who is the person who keeps shouting ‘You R’s’ every time we score when we’re playing at home? Originally I presumed it was Joe Lumley but he wasn’t in the squad for the Norwich game and the mystery shout could be heard after the Dykes goal. It’s irrelevant really now but whoever it is they’re an absolute hero.


I quite like these months where I have to scrape the barrel to find something bad to write about. Let’s be honest if the first thing that springs to mind is our keeper letting one squirm in and our striker missing a penalty against the best team in the division then we’re doing alright. However I will say that, and this is clearly with a huge serving of hindsight, the decision to start Dieng in the Norwich game was an odd one. First of all I don’t think Joe Lumley did a great deal wrong in the one and half games that he played in so felt it was a tad harsh for him to be dropped. Secondly, and this is where the hindsight comes in, it was fairly evident that Dieng wasn’t particularly fighting fit to be playing. After the game it came out that Warbs and Lumley had ‘had words’ and we can all make our assumptions about what that means but ultimately I just think it’s sad way for Lumley’s time at QPR to end. A guy who clearly has an affection for the club and also has the ability – in my eyes – to be a good keeper at this level, he never hid and some of the abuse he received last season was unacceptable. It has been confirmed that talks for a new deal are ongoing but if that is the last we see of him then ultimately it is a sad way for it to end.

I could leave my last point to sit here and moan about the fact that three more wins in that turgid first half of the season and we would be right in the mix, but in a selfish way I’d much rather have the season we have had than us getting a play-off spot, purely for the reason that we can’t go. It is a very selfish view point I know but for me if I can’t be there to experience the success, to feel that moment then it’s just not the same. Imagine the Oldham home game being played in an empty stadium with us only being allowed to watch in groups of six, would we still be talking about it 20 years later? So the point that I’m trying to get at is that I don’t think I’ll be asking myself what if this summer – well certainly not about QPR - and instead, for a change, will genuinely be looking forward to a new season. We still need to iron out that mad inconsistency between our worst and best performance, as witnessed with the horror shows at Forest and Rotherham, but for me there does appear to be genuine optimism at the end of a season which doesn’t feel right.

Just want to say thank you to Clive for allowing me to write these articles and for everyone who reads them. I do read the comments and it’s much appreciated, here’s to hoping everyone has a great summer and we’ll all be back in August. Stay safe everyone and come on you R’s.

Apray Grade - A

Links >>> Follow Steve’s match-by-match reviews on Instagram >>> August 18 >>> September 18 >>> October 18 >>> November 18 >>> December 18 >>> January 19 >>> February 19 >>> March 19 >>> April 19 >>> 18/19 Season Review >>> August 19 >>> September 19 >>> October 19 >>> November 19 >>> December 19 >>> January 20 >>> February 20 >>> March 20 >>> April 20 >>> May 20 >>> June 20 >>> July 20 >>> September 20 >>> October 20 >>> November 20 >>> December 20 >>> January 21

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Paddyhoops added 21:43 - May 13
Spot on with your analysis Steve.
Look forward to next season's contributions.

nix added 22:23 - May 13
Thanks Steve

Enjoy these round ups. Hopefully you'll continue next season.

Agree with all of your points.

Overall it's been a cracking season. If only we'd been there to witness it in person. Roll on the start of next season.

Phildo added 15:21 - May 14
Great Steve do enjoy reading these - hope you will be back next season to document one that we all have high hopes for

W7Ranger added 23:48 - May 15
Great summary Steve, particularly about Lumley. One of the few times I think Warbs has not handled something well. I've always liked Lumley, and I really hope he and the club can come to an agreement. Other than that, what a thoroughly enjoyable few months. Real genuine optimism for next season.

MarkN added 05:36 - May 19
I was wondering about the guy who shouts you R'sss too. Totally agree re the Lumley comments also.

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